6 Easy Strawberry + Protein Snack Recipes

Easy Protein and Strawberry Snack Ideasjennifer spartan training up and over cg arenaSchool’s out, sun’s out and guns are out and the skies the limit on all the fun and fit stuff that’s coming up in the next few months!

Not much could be sweeter about summer, except maybe a top-crop snack of strawberries. Strawberries balanced with a bit of protein are the perfect healthy snack to fuel the body for one warm-weather activity to the next.

On their own, strawberries are quite the super food, providing a quality source of simple carbohydrates that the body can turn into quick energy for runs, workouts and even power-thinking! The high fiber and water content found in this fruit creates a feeling of welcomed fullness, while keeping the calorie count low – a single medium strawberry only has 4 calories! Plus, a powerful wallop of vitamin C is packed in strawberries, an antioxidant that can help keep muscles, skin and tissues in tip-top shape – just eight strawberries match the vitamin C in a medium orange.

But often, especially for athletes and those with an active lifestyle, merely munching on a handful of berries alone won’t suffice. Pair up strawberries up with a lean protein source for added nutrients and a few extra calories to feel fuller and more fueled for the most vigorous daily routine. Also, eating a snack of carbohydrates with protein (in a 4:1 to 3:1 ratio) 30 minutes after an intense exercise session will help tired and sore muscles recover more quickly.

Check out these Six Strawberry Protein Snacks that can be made in a snap and will fuel you up for running, workouts, climbing and reaching for the sky!

 

Strawberry Banana Mug Muffin with Core PowerClick here for first recipe Strawberry Banana Protein Mug Muffin (20g protein)

Yuck to Yes! 6 Clean Eating Mistakes to Avoid

YUCK to YES! Six kinda gross healthy eating issues and how to get past them!You’ve purged the fridge and pantry of processed foods, loaded up on organic foods and free-range proteins, and your produce bin is now a colorful rainbow of Mother Nature’s bounty. It’s a beautiful sight – and congratulations on your road to a healthier lifestyle! However, many of us unwittingly sabotage even the best-laid plans for a healthy diet because it’s either what we were taught to do because “it isn’t pretty,” . . . or, frankly, we’re just a little grossed out.  It’s time to just “get over it” and stop making these healthy eating mistakes!

Don’t scrape off brown stuff off bottom of salmon: Keep healthy fats in your diet by salmon gettyleaving on the brown-grey gunk found on the bottom of salmon.

I’m not talking about the skin (although that’s good for you too), but the soft, gelatinous layer found between the skin and flesh. This brown-grey stuff is the insulating fat for this cold water fish and also where the overwhelming majority of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids are found.

Don’t pour off liquid pooled on top of Greek yogurt: Despite looking like a cloudy mess that should be drained away, this liquid is actually the whey. Whey is comprised mostly of settled water from the yogurt, but it’s also where the protein, potassium, and calcium live! Stirring in the whey before eating your yogurt keeps the protein content in yogurt high, preserves important nutrients and promotes a creamy texture.

Don’t spit out fruit seeds: Despite your mother’s warnings, most fruit seeds are actually quite beneficial for your health (some companies are even selling packaged watermelon seeds to snack on – they’re good! ), containing a boost of important amino acids, vitamins and minerals. You can eat watermelon seeds!For example, watermelon seeds are an abundant source of zinc and the tropical papaya has an enzyme that helps fight parasitic infestation, a common health issue where the fruit is grown (isn’t Mother Nature clever?).  I’m not saying you need to go out of your way to eat every seed in sight, but it’s definitely does no harm to eat a few of them –and, a plant won’t sprout in your stomach!

Don’t peel vegetables:  Stop peeling your vegetables, especially if they are thoroughly scrubbed and washed. Purple Potato PeelNot only does it take a ridiculous amount of time to de-skin produce (like potatoes, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, onions, carrots, beets and others), peeling also robs your diet of important nutrients. A high concentration of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are lurking on the skin of your favorite vegetables – for example, the levels of iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C found on potato skins are much more highly concentrated ounce-for-ounce, than in the rest of the tuber.  However, if you decide to remove the outer layer of vegetables for aesthetic purposes, save the peels and boil  with water for a vegetable stock.

Don’t avoid egg yolks and those “stringy things”: Let’s crack the hype that egg yolks are bad – yes, they contain cholesterol, but recent studies show that eating eggs does not ramp up the risk for heart disease. In fact, the yolk is where the bulk of an eggs super powers reside, packed with vitamins, minerals, protein and healthy fats that benefit the eyes, brain and remainder of our bodies. Egg ChalazaeAnd, if you’re grossed out by the white stringy things in eggs, don’t be. There is no harm in eating this ropey part of the egg, called chalazae. Chalazae are merely what anchor the yolk to the membrane and are not the beginning of little chick as many think. Egg experts say that the more chalazae you see, the fresher the egg.

Don’t chastise chia seeds over slime:  Chia seeds are rich in iron, potassium, calcium, omega fats, zinc, fiber, and antioxidants – and a good source of protein. However, the number one complaint of this super-food is the slimy texture the sand-sized seeds take on when wet.  Many don’t mind it, but others get the gag reflex. One way to reap the benefits of chia seeds, but avoid the gelatinous goo, is to incorporate a sprinkling of the seeds in smoothies or baked goods.

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding - TheFitFork.comOh, and if you’re looking for a chia seed recipe this Chocolate Raspberry Coconut Chia Pudding is one of my favorite healthy treats.

 

 

 

Do you have any tips on healthy eating, maybe some gross stuff that is actually good?! Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer

Chocolate Raspberry Coconut Chia Pudding with Unsweetened Almond Milk

This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk.

Chocolate Raspberry Coconut Chia Pudding - TheFitFork.comI’ve really grown to love almond milk as a staple in my healthy diet. I’m not lactose intolerant nor do I have any other concern about dairy milk, but I find that the addition of almond milk makes a tasty alternative in my cooking, baking and smoothie-making.  My absolute favorite “flavor” is unsweetened vanilla. With no added sugar, I am in control of how I want my milk or recipe outcome to taste and what type of ingredients I’ll use to do so. I will admit, in the winter, I do have cravings to mix in stevia-sweetened chocolate syrup – it makes a rich, creamy and low-calorie treat.  It’s hard to believe, but one cup of Unsweetened Almond Breeze Almondmilk  just has 30 calories – and, it has no saturated fat or cholesterol and is low on the Glycemic Index.

Trail Running - TheFitFork.comIn addition to mugs of hot chocolate, I can’t tell you how many smoothie creations I’ve made with unsweetened almond milk as the base.  Pear Maple Chia Smoothie, Watermelon Chia Smoothie, Creamy Cranberry Orange Smoothie and dozens upon dozens more. Making a smoothie is such an easy way to refuel after a good run – but I was looking for a new snack to have waiting and ready after an unseasonably warm trail run last week (it’s now cold again, ugh).   Pairing chia seeds with almond milk seemed like the perfect way to pump of the protein for muscle recovery . . . seeing as I did it so often in my smoothies!

Chocolate Raspberry Coconut Chia Pudding with Almond Breeze - TheFitFork.com Just like unsweetened almond milk, there’s so much love about chia seeds. These little guys are an abundant source of Omega 3 fatty acids, surprising high in protein, and rich in other vitamins and minerals like calcium. I’ll be the first to admit, the gelatinous texture of chia seeds – even just the word gelatinous – freaks me out a little. However, blend in some chocolaty cocoa and raspberries and all of a sudden the mouthfeel is marvelous. This recipe makes a stunning and super sensible dessert and is so nutrient-packed; it even gets my approval for breakfast.

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding - TheFitFork.com

Chocolate Raspberry Coconut Chia Pudding - TheFitFork.com
Chocolate Raspberry Coconut Chia Pudding
Print Recipe
Rich cacao powder and raspberries are perfectly paried -- add chia seeds and almond milk and you have a dessert that is creamy, dreamy and a delight for your healthy diet. Unsweeted almondmilk makes a great base that lets you choose how much sweetness to add.
Servings Prep Time
3 1/2 cup servings 3 minutes
Passive Time
8 hours
Servings Prep Time
3 1/2 cup servings 3 minutes
Passive Time
8 hours
Chocolate Raspberry Coconut Chia Pudding - TheFitFork.com
Chocolate Raspberry Coconut Chia Pudding
Print Recipe
Rich cacao powder and raspberries are perfectly paried -- add chia seeds and almond milk and you have a dessert that is creamy, dreamy and a delight for your healthy diet. Unsweeted almondmilk makes a great base that lets you choose how much sweetness to add.
Servings Prep Time
3 1/2 cup servings 3 minutes
Passive Time
8 hours
Servings Prep Time
3 1/2 cup servings 3 minutes
Passive Time
8 hours
Ingredients
Chocolate Chia Pudding Layer:
Rasberry Chia Pudding Layer
Servings: 1/2 cup servings
Instructions
  1. Set out two 1-pint microwave-safe containers with tight-fitting lids. In first container, add ingredients for chocolate pudding layer. Secure lid tightly and shake vigorously to combine.
  2. In second container, add raspberries and thaw in microwave on defrost for about 30 seconds, or until thawed and juices released. Use fork to mash up raspberries. Add remaining ingredients for raspberry pudding layer fasten lid and shake until combined.
  3. Set both containers in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight. To serve, spoon puddings in alternate layers. Top with additional raspberries and coconut. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
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Gluten Free Goodness | Chia Berry Breakfast Crisp Recipe

This post is sponsored by Sverve and Walmart and I was provided compensation for my time. However, all opinions and recipes are my own. 

Gluten Free Chia Berry Breakfast Crisp - TheFitFork.comMy recipe for Chia Berry Breakfast Crisp with Stevia-Sweetened Vanilla Greek Yogurt puts the “able” in your morning table – especially if your diet requires you to steer clear of the gluten found in many traditional breakfast foods like bagels, pancakes, cereal and the like.  Even some granolas can be off limits if the oats are not certified organic, but eating Nature’s Path Gluten Free Granola or using it in a recipe will put your mind and body at ease because knowing that all the ingredients are free of gluten.walmart gf natures path berry breakfast crisp

So, you guessed it – I made this healthy fruit breakfast recipe with Nature’s Path Gluten Free Granola for some wholesome crunch with no worries of those little gluten buggars ruining my day. Eating a “crisp” or “crumble” might sound a bit unusual or induldgent for breakfast – but it shouldn’t. Served with a stevia-sweetened vanilla 0% Greek yogurt instead of high-fat and sugar laden ice cream, this morning meal solution also provides a hearty serving of protein for long-lasting energy.   Chia Berry Breakfast Crisp with Stevia-Sweetened Greek Yogurt is so simple to make, let me show you how:

walmart gluten free natures path berry breakfast cobbler mixing berries

Mix together berries, stevia and chia seeds. It’s okay if berries are still frozen.

Top berries with granola. Then mix together yogurt, vanilla and stevia.

Top berries with granola. Then mix together yogurt, vanilla and stevia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chia Berry Breakfast Crisp with Greek Yogurt - TheFitFork.com

Chia Berry Breakfast Crisp with Stevia-Sweetened Greek Yogurt Recipe

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. In an ungreased 1 quart baking dish, mix frozen berries, chia seeds and 1 ½ teaspoons of the stevia together until fruit is coated.
  2. Sprinkle top of fruit with granola and lightly pat down.
  3. Bake approximately 20 minutes or until top light golden brown and fruit bubbling.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare yogurt by stirring together yogurt, vanilla extract and remaining 1 ½ teaspoons of stevia. Store in refrigerator until serving.
  5. Remove crisp from oven and let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm with 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt mixture per serving. Serves 4.Chia Berry Breafast Crisp - Guten Free - TheFitFork.com

There is so much to love about Nature’s Path Organic Summer Berries Granola. First of all, and most importantly for many with gluten and wheat allergies and intoleances, it’s totally gluten-free without scrimping on taste. It’s also certified organic, non-GMO verified and free of synthetic preservatives and additives.  But, another big selling point of Nature’s Path Granola is that it’s easy to find and affordable – I picked up my bags at Walmart.

Nature's Path Gluten Free Granola at WalmartIn fact, Walmart has a surprisingly large selection of Gluten-Free products for less including Udi’s, Glutino, Van’s, Nature’s Path and more! As a frugal mom and healthy food blogger, it’s my job to create and prepare recipes that speak to the dietary needs of those on the other side of the fork and for all budgets. With huge increase in those living a gluten-free lifestyle, I take my responsibility to suggest ingredient swaps,  recommend balanced pre-packaged foods, and offer meal planning ideas, all free of gluten, very seriously.

I’ve found that Walmart has really stepped up to the plate when it comes to addressing the needs of their gluten free customers.  If you don’t see what you need on the shelves, swing by customer service to fill out a product request form. And, if you DO see the gluten-free products that you need, but they are cheaper elsewhere – bring in the other store’s advertisement for Walmart price matching! Later this month, Walmart will be holding a Gluten Free Event at participating locations – check out the event information, find the participating store nearest to you, and discover other useful information for your gluten free journey on the Walmart Gluten Free for Less website.

What are your favorite brands for gluten free living? Let me know in the comments below. Also, please feel free to share your own gluten-free recipes on social media with #gfwalmart – enjoy!

Watermelon Smoothies – Day 6 #LivingOnTheWedge

#LivingOnTheWedge watermelon

Come over to my house in the morning and you’ll hear the low hum of my blender – it seems to be in constant use!  My husband makes a smoothie to drink during his commute to work and I whip one up to cool down and rehydrate after a run. And, the kids love them for breakfast or as a healthy snack anytime of the day – especially when watermelon is an ingredient.  Everyone loves my recipe for this Watermelon Chia Seed Smoothie. It’s very good for you and very versatile – use the milk product of your choice and put in (or omit) protein powder based on your dietary needs.

watermelon chia frozen smoothie

Directions: Pour 6 ounces of milk (cow, soy, coconut or almond) into blender pitcher. Add 2 cups watermelon chunks and process until smooth. If desired, add one scoop (about 1/3 cup) vanilla protein powder and another 2 tablespoons of milk; process again until smooth.  Add 1 teaspoon chia sees and pulse a few times to mix through. Serves 1.

super green detox smoothie watermelonI place a priority on “eating clean” as much as I can. That being said, I’m no saint – a burger with fries or pizza with the works are two of my favorite ways to splurge. After all, as Julia Child once said, “All things in moderation including moderation”! When I need to hit the “reset” button, this Super Green Detox Smoothie from Watermelon.org helps me get back to my healthy eating plan. It’s packed with watermelon, kale, avocado, hot chile paste and other nutritious ingredients that will get your engine humming once again.    

 

watermelon coconut strawberry smoothieThis yummy Watermelon Malibu Surf Smoothie is blended with strawberries, watermelon, coconut cream and a little something extra — rum! Sure to be a popular drink at your next outdoor party. If you prefer a non-alcoholic drink or are looking for a kid-friendly version, just swap the rum for extra watermelon juice.

 

 

 

Someone special reads my blog and gave me a watermelon for my birthday!

Someone special reads my blog and gave me a watermelon for my birthday!

I’m getting toward the end of my #LivingOnTheWedge week, and I am not anywhere near running out of things to share about watermelon.  I’ve talked a lot about how the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in watermelon can help improve your workouts and keep you hydrated during running and other outdoor, but I shouldn’t fail to mention the basics in nutrition this healthy sweet treat offers everyone.

  • Vitamin A found in watermelon promotes healthy eyes and supports your immune system by bolstering the infection-fighting ability of lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell).
  • Vitamin B6 found in watermelon assists in the production of antibodies that your immune system uses to fight disease. Vitamin B6 also helps keep your nervous systems in tip-top shape, aids in the restoration of red blood cells, and synthesizes protein.
  • Vitamin C found in watermelon helps keep your body “younger” by warding off cellular damage and medical conditions that can be created by free radicals. Vitamin C also helps promote a healthy immune system ready to combat invading infections and viruses.
  • Potassium found in watermelon helps keep your electrolytes in balance and helps keep you from getting dehydrated.
  • Low in calories, watermelon fills you up and satisfies cravings for “sweet” – this can help in weight management.  A 2 cup serving of watermelon chunks has only 80 calories and no fat.

watermelon giveawayAlso, check out all the other posts on watermelon I’m featuring all week and don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a great Watermelon Prize Pack! I also have a group pinterest board to share all the #LivingOnTheWedge love — you are invited to join!

The National Watermelon Promotion Boardnofollow is providing me with compensation to share my love of watermelon. However, the opinions and content (unless otherwise noted) shared are my own and NWPB did not tell me what to say or how to say it.